To treat an aggressive form of some cancers, aspirin may be included in future treatments.
The widely accessible medicine is being studied to see if it can help people with triple negative breast cancer respond better to immunotherapy.
The experiment will compare avelumab with and without aspirin before patients undergo surgery and chemotherapy.
If successful, aspirin plus avelumab could be used to treat incurable secondary triple negative breast cancer, which affects thousands of women in the world each year.
Breast cancer affects young women and black women disproportionately.
The study’s primary author is Dr Anne Armstrong of Manchester’s Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
And according to her:
“Our earlier research has suggested that aspirin can make certain types of immunotherapy more effective by preventing the cancer from making substances that weaken the immune response.
“Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin could hold the key to increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy when used at the same time.
“Trialling the use of a drug like aspirin is exciting because it is so widely available and inexpensive to produce.
“We hope our trial will show that, when combined with immunotherapy, aspirin can enhance its effects and may ultimately provide a safe new way to treat breast cancer.”
Dr Simon Vincent, Breast Cancer Now’s director of research, support, and advocacy, stated:
“The 8,000 women diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in the UK each year face the frightening reality of limited treatment options – we urgently need to address this.
“Research has already suggested aspirin could improve outcomes for many cancer patients and we hope that Dr Armstrong’s trial will show the same to be true for patients with triple negative breast cancer, so that we can prevent more lives being lost to this devastating disease.”
Breast Cancer Now said that Pfizer supplied financing for the research through an independent medical research grant, as well as providing the researchers with access to various Pfizer medications.
Image Credit: GEtty